Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

December 19, 2013

One man’s opinion: rating the 35 college bowl games

BLUEFIELD — At this time next year, at least three college football postseason games will matter.

 At least for now there is one, with all the others serving as an appetizer for the BCS National Champion-ship.

 Let's hope this year's entree is better than last. It was great for Alabama fans, but not for Notre Dame or anyone else who has had enough of the Crimson Tide or the SEC.

 Florida State has dominated a rather pedestrian collection of games this season, while Auburn has completed a pair of miracles against Georgia and Alabama, and then followed by hammering Missouri in the SEC title game. With a little help from Michigan State, Ohio State finally lost, giving the SEC champion a shot at another title.

 Now the Seminoles and Tigers, who are located about three hours apart, will meet for the national title 3,000 miles away in sunny Pasadena.

 Here is thinking that Auburn's luck may have run out. It will have been 31 days since either team had played a game when they meet on Jan. 6. Will destiny hang around another month to give the Tigers one more miracle?

 It isn't easy for an Alabama fan to cheer on Auburn, but that will be my very hesitant duty in hopes of keeping alive a pair of streaks. The SEC is looking for eight straight national titles, and the state of Alabama is going for five in a row.

 While that is the game that matters most, there are 35 bowl games on tap this season, beginning with the New Mexico Bowl — one of four of which is being played on Saturday _ and ending with the 'Noles and War Eagle on the first Monday of 2014.

 That means there will be 35 games played over 16 days. In reality, all those games will be played in 12 days, with four of those days absent of college football on the tube. Enjoy it while you can. Once a national champion has been crowned, college football _ which is the best football to me — will be over until the end of next August, except for those of us who enjoy spring football games, spring practice and recruiting.

 As next season approaches all the rage will be the four-team playoff, in which a large panel of so-called experts will select the four best teams and they will play a three-team tournament to determine a champion.

 Sure wish that was happening this season. Oh well, the Crimson Tide will rest again.

 Which bowl games do you need to watch, and which will be duds?

 Let's take a very brief look at each game...counting down from 35 to 1.

 35. GoDaddy Bowl. Arkansas State vs. Ball State. GoDaddy's Danica Patrick wins as often as these schools are relevant.

 34. New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Tulane. A home game for Tulane, Rajun' Cajuns' back for third straight year.

 33. Heart of Dallas Bowl: North Texas vs. Nevada-Las Vegas: At least Tony Romo can't be blamed if the Mean Green loses.

 32. Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State vs. Buffalo. How about some snow to go with the blue turf.

 31. Beef O'Brady's Bowl: East Carolina vs. Ohio. Wonder how many of the players or TV viewers have heard of the game sponsor.

 30. New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Washington State. Neither school has been bowling for a while. Did you notice?

 29. Armed Forces Bowl: Navy vs. Middle Tennessee. Anchors away. The Midshipmen run the Raiders aground.

 28. Little Caesar's Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh: MAC champion prize, trip to Detroit. Pitt finally avoids Birmingham.

 27. Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Rice: C-USA champion prize, visit to Memphis. Are 6-6 teams like MSU bowl worthy?

 26. Military Bowl: Maryland vs. Marshall. The Herd had to play at Rice, might as well be playing at Maryland too.

 25. BBVA Compass Bowl. Houston vs. Vanderbilt. Anyone have a BBVA compass to find this game?

 24. Poinsettia Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Utah State. NIU's Jordan Lynch is worth turning on the tube.

 23. Texas Bowl: Minnesota vs. Syracuse. How can you not cheer for Minnesota's Jerry Kill?

 22. Music City Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Mississippi. One of three SEC-ACC matchups this bowl season.

 21. Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers. Remember when the Irish would never even consider such a fate?

 20. Belk Bowl: North Carolina vs. Cincinnati. Back in Charlotte, the Bearcats beat Duke last year, UNC awaits.

 19  AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Boston College vs. Arizona. Andre Williams and Ka'Deem Carey learn what AdvoCare V100 is. Tell us.  

 18. Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Kansas State vs. Michigan. Wildcats moving up, Wolverines heading the other way.

 17. Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech. Logan Thomas meet a real NFL prospect, Brett Hundley.

 16. Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech. Look for flying footballs. Average nearly 92 pass attempts per game.

 15. Chick-fil-A Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Duke. The Blue Devils had to face Jameis Winston, up next is Johnny Manziel.

 14. Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs. Brigham Young. Two prolific offenses average more than 1,000 yards per game.

 13. Hawaii Bowl: Oregon State vs. Boise State. Two cold-weather teams get to put up points in Paradise.

 12. Gator Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska. Two banged-up teams played last year in the Capital One Bowl.

 11. Capital One Bowl: South Carolina vs. Wisconsin. Jadeveon Clowney won't knock any helmets off in this one.

 10. Outback Bowl: LSU vs. Iowa. Indiana at Iowa was my first college football game way back in 1979.

 9.  Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville vs. Miami. Call this one the overrated bowl.

 8.  Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs. Oklahoma State. Former Big 12 foes meet, both narrowly missed BCS berths.

 7.  Las Vegas Bowl: Fresno State vs. Southern Cal. If you can only watch one game on Saturday, pick this one.

 6.  Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas. Mack Brown could have picked an easier opponent to finish up with.

 5.  Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Central Florida. Watching Baylor's offense is reason enough to tune into this game.

 4.  Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs. Clemson. The last time these clubs met, Woody Hayes slugged a Clemson player.

 3   Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Oklahoma. All Nick Saban has to do is repeat 'Utah' from the Tide's last Sugar Bowl visit.

 2.  Rose Bowl. Stanford vs. Michigan State. These clubs prove that hard-hitting, physical football works.

 1.  BCS National Championship Game: Florida State vs. Auburn. The Seminoles will spear the Tigers and end the SEC's long

string of success. That is what happens when an Alabama fan like myself cheers on the enemy.

 Enjoy the college football. When it is over, all that is left is the overhyped NFL, and then three months of Mel Kiper and mock drafts.

— Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph.  He can be contacted at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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